Movie Theme Songs can really make a movie. You have to wonder, for instance, if Titanic would have been the same without its amazing theme song. More often than not, films with the best movie theme songs do better than flicks with awful music, because soundtracks speak to the audience just as much as plot lines and dialogue. Take a look at some of the most incredibly moving movie theme songs and see if you don't agree!
1. “Uninvited,” by Alanis Morissette, for City of Angels
City of Angels had an absolutely incredible soundtrack, and although the Goo Goo Dolls have my favorite, “Uninvited” is one of the most touching movie theme songs ever. I love “Iris,” but it doesn't make me tear up nearly as much as this song. I think the slow, haunting beat is just as responsible for its popularity as the lyrics.
2. “Streets of Philadelphia,” by Bruce Springsteen, for Philadelphia
It's weird. I rarely like Bruce Springsteen songs … unless they happen to be on soundtracks. “Secret Garden,” from Jerry Maguire, is one of my favorites, but this one makes the top of my Boss list. It's so evocative of the movie itself, a perfect choice for the soundtrack.
3. “Don't Wanna Miss a Thing,” by Aerosmith, for Armageddon
The soundtrack was one of the best things about the movie Armageddon. Although this isn't a traditionally moving song, it is incredibly emotional, hence its ranking as one of the best movie theme songs. It's also one of the reasons why I can't stop loving Aerosmith, no matter how much I might try.
4. “Kiss from a Rose,” by Seal, for Batman Forever
Although this was arguably a bad movie (I loved it, though), the soundtrack was one of the most kickass Batman soundtracks ever made. With songs by U2, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, and Massive Attack, how could you go wrong? But it was Seal's romantic, haunting, and incredibly moving theme song that really took the cake – or the rose.
5. “Kissing You,” by Des'ree, for Romeo + Juliet
Romeo + Juliet, too, had one of the most moving, inspirational soundtracks I've ever heard – two of them, in fact. I was tempted to place “When Doves Cry” on this list but didn't simply because it's this song that always moves me the most. Not only is this one of the most beautiful movie theme songs ever, but it's also deadly romantic.
6. “My Heart Will Go on,” by Celine Dion, for Titanic
You knew this was going to be on here, right? This song took the whole idea of soundtracks to an entirely new level. Unfortunately, it also got played so much I still can't handle hearing the whole song, but I can admit that it's simply gorgeous.
7. “Unchained Melody,” by the Righteous Brothers, for Ghost
There's no question that this is one of the most moving movie theme songs ever chosen. The scene is now iconic. When matched with the video from Ghost, it's absolutely heartbreaking. Heartbreaking, I tell you!
8. “Stand by Me,” by Ben E. King, for Stand by Me
Stand by Me, the film, just kills me. It really is the perfect song for the movie, and never mind that they have the same title. Both the song and the film are perfect in and of themselves, but paired together – the result is something incredibly special.
9. “Moon River,” by Audrey Hepburn, for Breakfast at Tiffany's
Needless to say, Audrey Hepburn was not the original artist of “Moon River.” I sincerely doubt the powers that be even thought that her version of the song would be anything but a scene in the film. However, it quickly became one of the most popular movie theme songs ever – and one of my personal favorites. It's short but incredibly poignant, and it chokes me up every time I hear it. Honestly, it made me think about “Moon River” in an entirely different way.
10. “Needle in the Hay,” by Elliot Smith, for the Royal Tenenbaums
I'm kind of cheating. “Needle in the Hay” was not technically the theme song for The Royal Tenenbaums, which is my favorite movie in all of life. However, it occurs during the most powerful scene in the movie, its placement is perfect, its sentiment and emotions are perfect – seriously, it just makes the entire scene better. Watch it. Seriously, I think it's unequivocally the best scene I've ever watched in any movie ever – and without the addition of “Needle in the Hay,” it wouldn't be anywhere near as powerful.
This list of movie theme songs proves how important a really good, moving song is to a film. Plenty of funny or dramatic flicks just have movie theme songs that catch on because they're awesome – “When I Grow Up” by Garbage, the theme for Big Daddy, springs to mind – but inspirational, touching songs go a long way. Whether the tunes were for a comedy, a drama, a horror film, or a romantic movie, what are some of your favorite movie theme songs?
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